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Archive for the ‘Erotic Fiction’ Category

It Was Just A Dream

I have the most interesting dreams at times. I don’t always remember them, or if I do wake up and remember I often forget them by the end of the day. The ones I remember? They are the ones that evoke feelings, strong feelings. Over the years there have been many and they range from drowning to orgasming. I’ll take more orgasming ones please.

This week I had a dream about a co-worker of mine, we’ll call him Mr Hart (it’s a sunglasses thing). He’s quite the character, and always in a fun way to me but some find him rude or abrasive. The receptionist commented today that he needs to stop touching/adjusting himself so much in front of people. To be honest, I’ve never noticed this. I notice his shoes and the way he walks. I notice his clothes and when he wears a shirt that doesn’t have stripes. I notice when he gets a haircut and the two pairs of glasses that are always on his head. I’ve never notices the crotch adjustments. Now I’m likely not to notice anything but.

Mr Hart is on the list of men I work with that I would have sex with if the right opportunity presented itself. I work for a very large company with mostly male employees, but my list reflects that of a small company or one with a predominately female staff. Mr Hart is at the top of a list that consists of him, Phone Dude, a VP, The Brit out west, and one of our drivers. Five people. Pretty sad considering it’s a male dominated business with more that three thousand employees. I don’t know if my list is small because the men aren’t that appealing or because I am too picky.

But enough about the real life side of it, about this dream…

Mr Hart and I were in the training room at the office, naked and snuggled up under some blankets. We weren’t having sex though, we weren’t even talking about it. We were just snuggling under the blankets and acting rather like two teenagers who want to have sex but are too shy to say anything about it. Maybe it was just a sense of naivety, but maybe we were actually being shy.

He was laying on his back with his left arm around me. I at his side with my head resting on his ribs and my hand on his chest. I would gently rub my hand over his chest as we lay there. We’d make small talk, knowing what was on the others mind but being coy about it, enjoying the closeness, the intimacy. There was nobody there but us, although had we been in the middle of Grand Central I suspect it would have still felt as though we were the only two people in the world.

We lay there, chatting about nothing, being as close as I had ever been with anyone else, sharing an intimacy I couldn’t even begin to describe. It wasn’t sexual, yet it was completely sexual. There were no thoughts of fucking or playing. There was no tell-tale musky scent. No bumping or grinding or heavy breathing.

There was one thing, anticipation. Anticipation of a first kiss. It was heavy in the air, the big elephant in the room. We danced around it, teased each other with it. We would lean in, nearly touch lips, then move away. What were we doing? What would happen if we gave in to our desires? What came after the kiss? Forget the fact that somehow we were naked, we hadn’t even kissed!

I woke up still feeling that intimacy and thrill of anticipation. I wanted to go back to being wrapped up in his arms. My lips were soft and swollen, ready for that kiss.

I would see Mr Hart several times at the office later that day. We didn’t speak as we didn’t have any work with each other that day. But there seemed to be looks, knowing looks like he could read my mind and see the thoughts I had in there of him and I. All day it felt like he was continuing the tease from my dream.

The oddest thing was that at some point I genuinely thought the dream was real, that it had happened and we had shared that evening together. I was rapping my brain trying to remember what had happened after the snuggling. What did we do? How did I get home? Why couldn’t I remember what I did after? Then I realized it was all just a dream. There was nothing more to remember.

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Varcorak awoke in the deep of night. Dull, hot pain throbbed through his belly. His scarred stomach always ached when the swamp spoke to him in the tongue of storms, warning him of liars, thieves, and blades in the dark. Varcorak opened his eyes to bronze slits. Ailsa skulked in the shadows nearby, dressed and picking through his belongings in silence. The swamp never lied. Disappointment, cold and bitter, tugged at his hardened heart. He was not surprised she was robbing him, but expectation made betrayal no less painful.

For a time, Varcorak feigned sleep just as he’d feigned his trust. The girl put so much effort into earning his trust all he had to do was act as though she’d succeeded. But Varcorak knew why she here. Thieves always thought they were one step ahead until they were drowning in his swamp.

Part of Varcorak hoped she’d stay. But he’d locked that part of himself away long ago. He could not let it endanger him again. Survival was more important than companionship.

Varcorak watched Ailsa fill her pack with proof of her thievery. She seemed to have an eye for value and chose items she could easily carry. That was smarter than some thieves. She’d also put blankets over some of the light stones. To a dragon’s eyes, darkness only painted the world in shades of blue-black. There was no shadow that would hide her from him.

Varcorak tensed when Ailsa paused beneath the portraits of his daughter. Ailsa touched Nykarys’ scales, her egg shell, and then she moved away. At least the girl expressed a proper reverence for his family. He’d hate to have to tear her apart for stealing something of his daughter’s.

Varcorak pinned his ears back when Ailsa moved to a crate covered in the purple and gold cloaks of long dead dragon slayers. The crate was filled with more wood-framed portraits that Varcorak kept hidden for a reason. Ailsa pulled free a depiction of a human woman. She stared at it, then at the paintings adorning his walls.

“Yes, that is the girl from the swamp.” Varcorak lifted his head.

Ailsa spun around, mouth agape. The startled terror that shone in her blue-green eyes was magnificent. She dropped the portrait atop the discarded cloaks, stumbling. Her mouth worked like a gasping fish dragged from the swamp. She snatched up her pack.

Varcorak eased up to his paws, yawning. “Don’t I even get a goodbye?”

Ailsa turned and ran.

That was rude. Very well, then. No more games. Varcorak coiled his strength and sprang. He crossed half the room in one leap, and the rest of it in a second. The dragon’s claws scratched the stone as he skidded to a stop before the exit. Varcorak whirled on Ailsa. He snapped his tail, its webbed spikes went rigid like finned blades. He flared his spines and roared.

The sound was all fury and threat, echoing off the stone walls. Ailsa dropped her pack, clapped hands over her ears. Varcorak prowled towards her, every motion coiled strength and menace. He struck Ailsa’s pack with his paw. It tumbled across the floor, spilling stolen treasures in a broken line.

“You think I didn’t know, Girl?” Varcorak hissed as she scrambled away. “I am not so easily fooled by a soft touch, a kind word, and pastries! You think you have the look of a mercenary? Where are your scars, where’s the dead fury in your eyes? You have the look of a filthy little thief who’s wriggled her way out of every danger she’s ever stumbled into.” Varcorak’s voice grew lower with every word till each syllable was little more than a rumbling growl. “Well, Girl. Wriggle your way out of this.”

Ailsa snatched up a golden goblet as she dashed away. She hurled it at Varcorak. He batted it aside, grinning. When Ailsa hurled an entire wooden crate at him, Varcorak knocked it out of the air just as easily. The wood shattered, goblets and jeweled vessels scattered across the floor. He snarled at her, shaking his aching paw. He wasn’t about to let Ailsa make a mess of his home.

Varcorak took a few measured steps, gauging Ailsa’s direction. Then he pounced on her, bearing her down against the stone floor. Ailsa coughed and wheezed as the dragon rolled her onto her back.

“Stop being so dramatic.” The dragon pressed a paw to her chest. “You haven’t even felt my weight.” Varcorak snarled in her face, his spines raised. “If I wanted–”

Ailsa suddenly had a dagger pressed to the dragon’s throat, behind his jaw. Clever girl. “Let me up, Dragon.” Ailsa’s stormy blue-green eyes were wild, flashing fear and anger. “Or I’ll cut your throat.”

“Do it then.” Varcorak unsheathed his claws against her chest. “You use your little blade, I’ll use my claws, and we’ll see who dies first.”

Ailsa held her breath, the blade trembled against the dragon’s neck. “Just…let me go. Neither of us has to die. Let’s…talk about this.”

“Talk?” Varcorak splayed his ears, hissing. “I think we’re past that now.”

Ailsa panted, her body heaving beneath his paw. She felt fragile. Too fragile. “Let me up, or I’ll cut your throat.”

“So you said.” The dragon flicked his spines back against his head. “Go on then.” Varcorak hissed in her face, withdrawing his claws. “Kill me. Open my throat, and watch me die. I won’t retaliate, but I can’t promise the same of the swamp. Hurry, Ailsa, or I’ll retract the offer.”

Hot pain stung Varcorak’s throat as Ailsa pushed the blade into his pebbly-scaled flesh. Wet heat ran down his neck. Ailsa’s hand trembled, and Varcorak sneered at her, flaring his spines again. “Not so easy, is it.”

Ailsa bared her teeth in a grimace of fear and effort as she pressed the blade harder. Varcorak grit his teeth against the pain. Ailsa shook beneath him and red blood ran down her arm. “Just let me go, Var. Don’t make me kill you. Please!”

“If you meant to kill me, Ailsa, you’d have already tried and discovered your blade insufficient.” Varcorak jerked his head away from the blade then swatted it from Ailsa’s grasp. Ailsa screamed in surprised pain, cradling her hand. Varcorak wiped blood from his throat, then glanced at the knife. “Sharp, but too small.”

Ailsa tried to crawl away, and Varcorak grabbed her. The dragon reared to his hind legs, and tossed Ailsa through the air. She screamed and landed with a thump on Varcorak’s blankets and pillows. Varcorak was back atop her in an instant. The dragon stood over her, preparing himself for whatever she might try next.

“Anymore tricks, Thief?”

Ailsa slammed her booted foot between the dragon’s hind legs. Varcorak only grunted. He’d already tucked his tail to protect himself. Ailsa kicked him a few more times, and Varcorak just grinned at her.

“I’m not stupid, Thief.” Varcorak hissed at her. “I know how to protect those. Anything else you’d like to try?”

Ailsa panted and coughed. She struggled for breath as her eyes darted around the room. She fought against Varcorak’s grasp, her nails scratched at his scales.

“Stop acting like a cornered rat, Ailsa. It does not become you.” The dragon swiveled his ears back in distaste. “Take a breath. Face me with some pride.”

Ailsa stopped struggling. Blood dribbling from Varcorak’s throat speckled her olive skin with crimson. Ailsa glared at the dragon, fury and defiance replacing the fear in her eyes. She wiped away the blood and smeared it across Varcorak’s foreleg.

Varcorak smiled, rumbling his approval. “Yes, that’s more like it.”

“What now, King Ugly?”

Varcorak arched his neck. “King Ugly? Not bad, but you’re not as clever as you think. Tell me, Ailsa.” Varcorak snorted, blowing her black hair around. “Do jailors often discuss their town’s problems with their prisoners?”

“What?” Ailsa blinked, staring up at him. Varcorak grinned as gears struggled to turn behind her blue-green eyes.

“You thought this was all your idea, Ailsa, but it wasn’t. It was mine.” Varcorak swept his green-mottled wings out in a grand gesture. “When I heard my town arrested a wandering thief, I decided to play a little game.”

“Wh…what?” Ailsa stammered. Her bafflement was delightful. “What game?”

You were the game, Ailsa.” Varcorak licked her cheek, whispering into her ear. “I instructed the guards to talk about my demands around you. See if you’d be ambitious enough to wriggle your way out of that cell and into my lair. And you were.”

Ailsa wiped more dragon blood from her face. “So you knew. All along.”

“That you were a thief who planned to rob me?” The dragon flicked his wings, dragging their tips across his bedding. “Or about the red root?”

Ailsa sucked in a breath. “How…?”

“My town is loyal.” The dragon lashed his tail. The spines caught a pillow and sent it tumbling through the air. “They sent message about the tarts before you even arrived.”

“But you ate them!”

“And they were delicious.” Varcorak drummed fingers against her shoulder, lifting a few spines. “I had a part to play. Besides, red root grows in my swamp, Ailsa, I know it well. It only makes dragons drowsy.”

“Goddamn it!” Ailsa balled up her fists, shaking.

“Infuriating, isn’t it.” Varcorak curled his tail, reveling in his victory. “All this time spent playing me. Must have thought yourself so clever. I even gave you a chance to come clean about it. Instead, you betrayed the trust you thought you’d built.”

“You wicked bastard!” Ailsa punched his forelegs.

“Wicked?” The dragon let her punch his scaled limbs all she wanted. It scarcely hurt. He growled low in his throat, baring his fangs. “So says the one who pleasured a dragon just to get to his treasure.”

“You manipulative son of a bitch!” Ailsa pounded her fists against his limbs, his chest.

“Manipulative?” Varcorak’s growl rose. “You were the one who feigned comfort when I needed it most! Who sat with me as my companion, offering me drugged treats.”

“You told me that bullshit story!” Ailsa lashed out again, flailing in sudden fury, her face red. “I felt sorry for you! I thought you were crying, I thought you were lonely! Now you tell me it’s just part of some bullshit game? I almost stayed here with you!”

“And I hoped you would!” Varcorak snapped at her. “The story was real, Ailsa, that wasn’t part of the game. That just…” The dragon glanced away, gnashing his teeth. Anger made his fire glands churn. Bitter fire bile coated his tongue and cold claws sunk into his heart. “Last night I bared something real to you. I hoped your comfort in return was just as true! I clung to the futile hope that you might change your mind and stay, even as I knew you would not.”

“That…was real?” Ailsa went still, staring up at him. “…I don’t believe you.”

“I don’t care.” Varcorak snapped his jaws. He took a deep breath, and pulled out the talon she’d left deep inside him. “What is done is done. This is where we are. The game is over, and what happened no longer matters. Now you’re just…” Varcorak growled, low and bitter. “A thief.”

The color drained from Ailsa’s face. Something sad flickered in her eyes, and she worked her lips in wordless silence. Varcorak pushed his paw over her mouth to keep her that way. Fear once more replaced sorrow in her eyes. He lifted a digit to clear her nose, breath washed over his scales in fearful snorts.

“Bite me, and I’ll crush your jaw. Clear?”

Ailsa nodded once.

“Good.” Varcorak lowered his head, his bronze eyes boring into Ailsa’s blue-green ones. “I don’t want to hear your apology. In fact, I don’t want to hear you say another word. You will lie there and listen. Is that also clear?”

When Ailsa nodded, Varcorak removed his paw. Ailsa took a deep breath, staring at the dragon. She rubbed her jaw. Varcorak pinned his ears back. “I never planned to kill you, Ailsa. Game or not, I enjoyed our time together.” The dragon glanced away. “Despite your manipulation, I took solace in your comfort. Perhaps that speaks ill of me.” He gazed at his daughter’s portraits. “And you told me to visit my daughter. I…did not expect that.” Varcorak sighed and shook his head. “So I have a deal to offer you. Nod if you wish to hear it.”

Ailsa nodded.

“The man you assaulted in town. You tracked him here to reclaim something he took. Correct?”

Shock slackened Ailsa’s face before she grimaced and glanced away. “My father’s knife.”

“Then the deal is thus. You may choose between sentiment or wealth. Your father’s knife, or one piece of my treasure. Not both. Then you may leave my lands unharmed. If you return to my lands, I will kill you, Thief.” Varcorak tapped an unsheathed claw against her throat. “Fair?”

Once Ailsa nodded, Varcorak settled on his haunches to let her up. She scrambled away from him and snatched up her pack. He curled his tail around his paws, watching her back away till she stumbled over spilled treasure. She gazed down at a jewel-crusted goblet and wrung a leather strap between her hands.

“If the choice is too difficult, I can offer you the Devil’s deal, instead.” Varcorak flared his spines, cocking his head. “Isn’t that what you called me? The Devil?” He rustled his wings, smirking. “Curious? You may speak.”

Ailsa squeezed her empty pack. She grit her teeth. “Tell me.”

Varcorak grinned at her, unfurling his wings. “You may fill your pack with all the treasure you can carry. Escape my swamp, and the treasure is yours, and so is your father’s knife.” The dragon lifted a paw, unsheathing a single claw. “The catch, Ailsa, is that come morning I will hunt you through my swamp like prey.”

Ailsa sucked in a breath, her body rigid.

“I’ll give you plenty of time.” Varcorak unsheathed the rest of his claws, ticking them off. “I’ll sleep in late, I’ll hunt breakfast, I’ll bathe…and then I’ll come find you. And I will find you, Ailsa. The swamp will make sure of it. When I catch you…” Varcorak sheathed his claws, set his paw back down. “I don’t know what I’ll do. Perhaps I’ll paddle you right there in my swamp.” Varcorak grinned when Ailsa’s jaw dropped. “Perhaps I’ll hoist my tail and let you paddle me.” A snarl replaced the dragon’s grin, his spines flared. “Or maybe I’ll just drown you in my swamp and leave you to rot.”

Ailsa’s face slackened, her eyes went wide. She stumbled back from the dragon.

Varcorak drummed claws tips against the floor, flicking his tail. “Wealth, sentiment, or the Devil. Decide.”

Ailsa crouched down, picking through some of the spilled treasure. A shame Ailsa only seemed to want the one piece. She’d been so much more entertaining than the usual fawning wenches they sent his way. She reminded him of the first human woman he knew, the one he found in the swamp. Why, she was–

“Fuck it.” Ailsa crammed treasure after treasure into her bag.

“The Devil’s deal it is.” Varcorak flicked his tail, his spines clattering. A smile spread over his muzzle. “A pleasant surprise. Good girl, Ailsa.”

“Call me that again, and I’m gonna use that paddle on your balls.” Ailsa glared at him, buckling her treasure-filled pack shut.

“I’ll be sure to bring it, then.” Varcorak’s grin widened, his ears perked. He rustled his wings. Ooh, this was already exciting. How was he going to sleep? When Ailsa shouldered her pack and went to the tapestry, Varcorak bowed his head to her. “Good luck, Ailsa. See you in the morning.”

Ailsa was gone without another word.

Once Varcorak was alone, he cleaned up the mess Ailsa left. As he put the treasures back where they belonged, his gaze wandered the painted faces of old lovers, of family. Many of them were gone now. He picked up the painting of the human woman. He stared at it, shivering. They were so much alike. He put it back with the other portraits he could not bear to hang.

Varcorak found himself standing below the paintings of his daughter. He brushed his pads across his favorite image of her. “Maybe Ailsa’s right about visiting you. I think you’d like her.”

Varcorak stared at his daughter’s face. He could almost hear her lovely voice teasing him for talking to himself. Chiding him over the way he conducted his life.

“Maybe if I spare her, I’ll take her to meet you.” He sighed, leaning his horned head against the wall. He closed his eyes. “I miss you, Ny.”

When Varcorak opened his eyes again, the paintings stared down at him. He snorted. “Don’t look at me like that. She brought this on herself.” Varcorak glanced away, pinning his spines back.

“That’s not fair, it’s different from your mother.” Teeth of ice bit into his heart. “Someone had to protect them. But Ailsa chose this path.”

He turned his head to gaze into his daughter’s eyes again. “You want me to spare her, don’t you.”

Varcorak flopped onto his haunches, crossing his forelegs over his plated chest. His neck frills tingled. “Oh no, you can’t turn this around…well, yes. Maybe she is right about that.” Varcorak sighed, flicking his tail. “Sometimes the roads we walk do choose us. The swamp certainly chose me. Some days I wish it hadn’t.”

He hissed under his breath, then chuckled. “We both know the swamp will never let her leave. So tell you what. I’ll let the swamp decide her fate. But if it lets Ailsa live, I’m going to let her steal your treasure. See how you like it.”

Varcorak laughed in bittersweet amusement. He stretched his neck, nuzzled the center image of his daughter, and then turned away. He tidied up his pillows and blankets, smiling. It had been ages since he got to hunt someone. Varcorak stretched out upon his bedding, and lay his head down.

The dragon smiled.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tale of  Ailsa and Varcorak during Dragon Week. This week’s episodes were courtesy of D. Wilder and his novella The Devil’s Deal. You can catch up on all the episodes and find contact information for D. Wilder here.

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Ailsa settled upon a thick blue blanket with silvery patches. Still damp from the bath, she hadn’t bothered to dress. She opened up her pack, glancing at the dragon. Varcorak sat on his haunches nearby, his finned tail curled around his paws. Pale blue light made the gray lines and blotches of old scars stand out against his belly.

“You’ve a lot of scars.” Ailsa retrieved a couple brambleberry tarts and set them on the blanket. Each was twice the size of her first and wrapped in a golden, sugar-dusted crust.

“A lot of people try to kill me.” Varcorak peered at his scars. “Just as they’ve slain so many other dragons. Humans believe us evil. Even you called me the devil.”

Ailsa glanced at the tarts, sighing. “I doubt my opinion matters to you. For what it’s worth, your town doesn’t seem to think you’re evil.”

“And you wonder why I stay.” Varcarok stretched a wing, staring at it as though the green markings told a story across its black expanse. “Peace is as viable a means of survival as bloodshed.”

“So it is.” Ailsa picked up a pastry and waved it at the dragon’s scars. “Those attempts ever come close?”

“This one.” Varcorak traced a claw tip along a thick, gray scar marring his belly. “This one terrified me. I thought it was my end.”

“What happened?” Ailsa clutched the tart in both hands.

“Are you going to give me that tart or just tease me with it?” Varcorak licked his muzzle, rumbling a hungry purr.

Ailsa laughed. “I was going to eat it, but if you’re going to beg for scraps like a dog, here.” Ailsa passed the dragon the treat, then pushed a few more towards him. “They said brambleberry was your favorite.”

Varcorak popped the pastry into his muzzle, spines trembling in delight. “Oh, yes. I love these.”

“Good. There’s cakes, too.” Ailsa dug a cake from the pack and took a bite. The honey icing was melted, but it was still soft and sweet. “Maybe I’ll trade you for one of your tarts.”

“A fair trade.” Varcorak eased down onto his belly, licking sugar from his paw. He cocked his head and gave Ailsa an odd look. “Do you really want to know about my scar?”

“I do.” She may as well keep the dragon busy while the red root worked into his system.

The dragon reached for another tart. “Then I shall require your companionship.”

“Companionship?” Ailsa smirked, drumming her fingers against the leather pack. She grinned as Varcorak ate a second pastry. That’s right, King Ugly, eat them all. “Are you asking to cuddle?”

“Yes.” Varcorak snorted. He rolled to his side and hoisted a foreleg in invitation. “And bring the tarts.”

Ailsa carried her pack across dragon’s bedding and settled against his chest plates. When Varcorak wrapped his foreleg around her middle, Ailsa fought the instinct to twist away before she was trapped. She relaxed after a moment, telling herself the dragon just wanted to cuddle. Varcorak’s warmth helped soothe her.

Ailsa stroked the black scutes of the dragon’s foreleg, removing tarts from her pack with her free hand. She pushed them towards the dragon, along with a honey cake. Ailsa kept one tart for herself, marked by an extra incision in the crust. She picked up her tart, and leaned back against the dragon.

Ailsa took a bite of her pastry. The crust was flaky while the red-black filling was sweet and with a tart edge. It was studded with whole berries. No wonder he loved them. As Ailsa ate, she stroked Varcorak’s stomach. Her fingers brushed smooth scar tissue, and she glanced at the fat gray blotch.

“I was young.” The dragon’s spines drooped, his ears pinned back. “Too young to be hunted.”

Ailsa scowled. “You were being hunted?”

Varcorak glanced away, growling. “Dragons are always being hunted.”

Sympathy knifed through Ailsa’s armor. She knew what that was like to be hunted, to wander alone. How difficult life was when you never felt safe. Ailsa swallowed, and stared at a mirrored lantern just to keep her eyes off the tarts.

“It’s alright, Varcorak.” Ailsa rubbed his foreleg scutes. “No one hunts you now.”

Varcorak shifted, and Ailsa glanced up at him. She immediately wished she hadn’t. The smile the dragon gave her nearly broke Ailsa’s heart. There was honesty in that flicker of a smile that spoke of genuine comfort and consolation in her presence. Old bastard really was lonely. That wouldn’t keep Ailsa from stealing his treasure, but it might keep her up at night.

Ailsa patted the dragon’s hand. “Let me get us some wine.” Varcorak moved his leg. Ailsa rose, poured them each some wine and returned to the dragon. “Here. This will help.”

Varcorak accepted the wine with another smile that made Ailsa cringe inside. “Thank you.”

Ailsa settled back down against the dragon’s chest. This time when he enclosed her in his foreleg, she didn’t feel trapped, just guilty. “You don’t have to talk about it, Var.”

“I don’t mind, Ailsa.” The dragon selected a tart and gazed at it like some unsolvable puzzle. The sugar crystals glittered in the blue light.

Ailsa took a drink, then set her goblet down and splayed her fingers over the back of Varcorak’s free hand. Maybe it would do the dragon good to bare a little of his black heart.

“I was young.” Varcorak’s voice drifted, aimless upon a dark ocean of memory. “Not ready to live alone, but life had not given me a choice.” The dragon swallowed, pinning his spines. “Too young to be so afraid.”

Ailsa stroked the dragon’s foreleg, furrowing her brow. “Why would they hunt something so young?”

Varcorak bared a few fangs, gave her a dark look. “Easier to slay a monster before he’s fully grown.”

Ailsa winced and picked up her goblet. She’d drink the whole bottle if she didn’t need to stay sober. “That’s cold.”

“Slaying dragons was their only goal.” Varcorak turned his gaze away, his wings shivering. “They tracked me all summer. Several times they ambushed me, drew my blood, but never could they end me. The longer it went on, the more terrified I became. In desperation, I set my own ambush. Slew a few of them, drove the rest away. I offered pieces of their dead to the swamp in hopes of earning its protection and intimidating the others into retreat.”

Ailsa sipped her wine, rubbing the back of the dragon’s hand. “Didn’t work?”

“No.” Varcorak stared at his reflection in his wine, spines rising. “A few nights later, I cowered in my tiny cave while a storm raged outside. Shattering thunder startled me and I leapt to my paws. In the next flash I saw them slinking into my home, intent on murdering me in my slumber. The storm they’d used for cover saved my life.” Varcorak’s voice grew hoarse, and he took a drink of wine before continuing. “I tore one of them apart, burned another alive. I sound evil saying that, but I just wanted to live.”

Ailsa tightened her grip on her goblet.

The dragon turned his head, staring at his scarred belly. “I managed to kill them all, but not before one of them pierced me with a barbed lance made to kill dragons. He wrenched it from me, and the barbs…tore me. Inside.”

“Oh, God.” Ailsa shuddered, biting her knuckle.

Varcorak grimaced, flattening his ears. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Sometimes, when it storms, it still hurts.”

Ailsa traced a finger around the outline of the fat gray scar. “You’re lucky you survived.”

“I did not think I would.” Varcorak’s voice grew distant, his bronze gaze unfocused. “I had never seen so much blood. I tried to stop it, but it poured across my paws in a red tide. I twisted in pain and screamed till my throat tore.” The dragon hung his head, his ears drooping. His wings shook. He balled a paw into a fist. “Then I cried, Ailsa.” Varcorak’s voice cracked, growing hoarser with every word until it broke entirely. “I cried. I did not want to die. Not like that, not bleeding out, forgotten in some damp cave. I was so afraid, so utterly alone.”

“I’m so sorry.” Ailsa set her goblet down to squeeze the dragon’s paw between her hands.

“I was so afraid, Ailsa. Afraid I would die without ever mattering to anyone, with no one to remember me.” Varcorak took a shuddering breath, and turned his head away from Ailsa. His spines sagged around his head. “I…I need a moment.”

Ailsa furrowed her brows as the scaly bastard tried to hide his tears. Hell, she hadn’t even known dragons could cry. Varcorak wiped his eyes with a paw, choked back a gravelly sob, then another. His wings shook, a whimper escaped him. Ailsa swallowed, trying to strangle her sympathy before it got started. Damn dragon wasn’t supposed to be able to make her heart ache.

Aw, hell. Least she could do was comfort the beast before she robbed him. But only because she’d brought it up. Not because she felt sorry for him. So close to dying alone in his youth. Lonely and terrified. Damn it, Ailsa, cut it out! Ailsa’s throat clenched as she rose. Before she could stop herself, she wrapped her arms around the dragon’s neck.

“It’s alright, Var.” Ailsa pressed herself to him, stroking his neck. He’d better appreciate this. “You’re safe, now. You’re not alone anymore.”

Varcorak heaved a sigh, his brassy voice a battered, rusted horn. “No, I am not. I have you, Ailsa.”

Wasn’t that just a knife in the belly. “And your daughter, Var. And your town.” Ailsa rubbed his scales, blinking back a few tears of her own. “Right?”

“Yes, Ailsa.” Varcorak turned his head to gaze down at her, his bronze eyes wet and bloodshot. His pebbly scales crinkled when he smiled. He lowered his head, nuzzling her cheek. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Var.” Ailsa hugged his head, and then eased back down to sit against his body. “You gonna be okay?”

“I’m fine.” Varcorak slipped his foreleg around Ailsa’s middle. “That was a long time ago. I try to forget how frightened I felt that night. How alone.”

Ailsa grimaced. The comforting warmth of Varcorak’s foreleg around her made for a blanket of guilt. “How did you survive?”

“The swamp.” Varcorak lapped up the last of his wine as he collected himself. He stared into the empty bowl. “Starting with the storm it sent to warn me.” Varcorak gazed at his windows. “As it always does.”

Distant lightning sent ice down Ailsa’s spine. Any moment now the storm would strike her dead. She hoped the dragon could not feel her goose bumps through his scales.

Varcorak pushed his bowl away. “I drifted on agony and fever dream, heard my father’s voice. He’d taught me fresh brambleberries quell bleeding, fight fevers. I woke and crawled from my cave, and there they were. Piles of them washed up around my home after the storm.”

Ailsa leaned her head back. “Lucky for you.”

“Not luck.” Varcorak’s voice sharpened. “The swamp. When I was dying, it brought me medicine. When I could not hunt, it sent me food. When I could not protect myself, it made a friend of my enemy.” The dragon gestured at the portrait of the gray gryphon with gray mottling. “The swamp provides, Ailsa.”

“It provided a gryphon?” Ailsa blinked, wondering if the red root and wine were influencing his story.

“He came to steal my kill.” Varcorak curled his paw and lay his head down upon it. “Still young, like me. Stalking a half-drowned flock of mud hens washed to my cave. I was too weak to fight him. He could have claimed my life and my land. Instead, he took half the birds, and left. The next day, he returned with a fresh kill and gave me half. Of all the gryphons…” Varcorak yawned, and closed his eyes.

Ailsa nudged the dragon when he did not continue. “Of all the gryphons…what?”

“We were threats to each other. Gryphons and dragons.” Varcorak opened his eyes to bronze slits. “So the swamp sent me the only gryphon who could help me make peace between our species.” He closed his eyes again.

“That’s it? You can’t end the story there! How long did it take to heal, what happened with the gryphons?”

Varcorak lifted his head, peering at Ailsa with bleary, unfocused eyes. “Sorry, Ailsa. I’m suddenly…quite drowsy. I’ll continue tomorrow if you wish.”

Damn. She’d stepped right in her own snare. “I’d like that, Var.”

“Good. Thank you for coming, Ailsa.” The smile the dragon gave her left her choking on her own guilty heart. “It has been…too long since I’ve known companionship.”

Ailsa forced a smile while she still had the strength. Her lies were getting harder to speak. “Even a dragon needs a friend now and then, right?”

“Yes.” The dragon laid his head against his paw again. “He does. Will you lay with me while I sleep? Sometimes that memory haunts my dreams.”

“Of course.” Ailsa fetched herself a blanket. “Var, remember what I said. When I’m gone, go see your daughter. Please.”

“I doubt she wants to see me.”

“Visit her anyway.” Ailsa sighed as she wrapped the blanket around her naked body. She curled up against the dragon so he could feel her warmth, her presence. Her words were a knife in her own heart. “I’m here if you need me.”

“Thank you, Ailsa.”

Ailsa pulled the blue blanket up over her face. She wiped her eyes. “Sleep well, Var.”

 

I hope you enjoyed the tenth episode of The Devil’s Deal by D. Wilder. Stay tuned for the final episode tomorrow. You can catch up on episodes you may have missed and see the full schedule along with contact information for D. Wilder here.

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Ailsa knelt beneath Varcorak’s outstretched wing, rubbing oil into the black and green canopy. The dragon’s wing membrane was sturdy as leather, but softer and quite warm. Tiny veins pulsed throughout it. A muscular joint behind Varcorak’s shoulder anchored his wing, with the membranes attached along his back from that joint to his haunch. Ailsa worked her way from the joint out to his wingtip. As Varcorak’s wing twitched and trembled, he made halting, growling noises that sounded suspiciously like draconic giggles.

Ailsa paused, smirking as she rubbed fresh oil between her hands. “Are your wings that ticklish, Var?”

“I keep telling you, they aren’t ticklish.” Varcorak snorted, his wing twitched. “They are sensitive.”

“If that’s what you want to call it.” Ailsa trailed a single finger across the underside of the dragon’s wing just to make it twitch. Varcorak squirmed. “They seem ticklish to me.”

“They require sensitivity to feel the air currents.” The dragon snapped his jaws. “We went over this while you oiled my other wing.”

“Could have sworn you said they were ticklish.” Ailsa had finished oiling his first wing quickly after returning to his massage. But the dragon’s ticklishness was so amusing she’d taken her time with the second. “Don’t worry, Cranky, won’t be long now and I’ll be done tickling you.”

Ailsa slipped out from under Varcorak’s outstretched wing and grasped its edge. Ailsa spread the oil all along the edges of Var’s wing until she’d reached his body. Then she walked back and forth, distributing the oil as far as she could. The oiled areas shone in the blue light.

“How’s that?”

“Good enough.” Varcorak folded his wings over his back, rubbing them together to help spread the oil.

“That just leaves your underside, then.” Ailsa grinned at the wriggling dragon. “Can you lie on your back or are your wings in the way?”

“I can.” Varcorak eased himself over onto his back, draping his wings against the blankets. “I don’t bare my belly for just anyone.”

“I’m honored.” Ailsa grinned.

Ailsa clambered up, and seated herself on his chest plates, smooth beneath her body. Ailsa stretched her arms up his chest, kneading the muscles beneath the natural armor. The oil made his plating shine. Ailsa wriggled her way down his body, massaging every armored inch. The further down his body she moved, the more the plates melted away into pebbly scales that felt lovely against her skin.

Ailsa oiled every scale. She worked her hands down his sides, across his ribs. Varcorak sighed, ever more relaxed. With her focus on his belly, Ailsa noticed more scars than before, gray marks on his ebony underbelly. She traced a finger around the largest scar, wondering, but when the dragon squirmed she left it be.

When she reached his hind legs, Ailsa slipped off the dragon. She oiled his tail next, from the finned spines at its tip to where it met his body. Then she turned her attention to a gray-speckled hind paw. She kneaded the tender gray pads and delicate webbing before working oil along his limb. Ailsa danced her fingers between the dragon’s back legs, teasing where scales gave way to flesh. His erection had mostly retreated. She traced a finger around a draconic testicle, dragged her fingertip up the ebon sheath that held his member, and moved onto his other limb.

“Tease.” Varcorak snorted.

“You like it.” Ailsa caressed the pebbly black scales of the dragon’s thigh, working to his paw. When his scales and pads were glistening, Ailsa drummed her fingers back down his leg, pausing where it met his body. “All done. Have I missed anything?”

“That’s not funny.”

Ailsa settled down against the base of the dragon’s tail, pebbly scales under her rump. “I suppose your balls deserve a massage, too.”

“That isn’t all.”

Ailsa grinned and ran a finger between Varcorak’s balls. The black dragon’s testicles hung loose in warm relaxation, their fat oval shapes silhouetted against the ebony skin. The left one hung a little lower, and Ailsa cupped it in her palm. With her other hand, she rubbed oil in slow circles over the sensitive skin.

“How’s that?” Ailsa rolled the dragon’s ball between her hands.

“Mmmrrrrhhhrrrmm.”

Ailsa grinned, massaging the dragon’s testicle till half his scrotum shone with oil. She moved to the other jewel, kneading the tender gland and spreading oils all across the skin. Varcorak groaned, his toes curling, spines trembling around his head. Ailsa watched his pointed, ruby member emerge from its soft black sheath as she polished his eggs.

“You’ve fascinating equipment.” Ailsa laughed. “I’m afraid the next man I’m with will seem boring.”

Ailsa reached forward and twined her fingers around the tapered tip of the dragon’s growing spear. It was hot against her skin, as smooth as the dragon’s scrotum. She squeezed it, stroked the last few inches with her oiled palm. Varcorak trilled in delight. She stroked him again, coaxing the rest of him out. Then she took him between her hands, running her oily fingers down the dragon’s shaft to his ridges, then his balls. Teasing his ridges brought a second trill.

“Where’s the most sensitive part of you?” Ailsa leaned over the dragon’s erection, breasts brushing him. Her tongue against his pointed tip made him gasp. “Here?” She drummed her fingers across his ridges. “Or here?” Varcorak sucked in another breath, shivering. “Here, I think.”

“Ridges,” Varcorak said, his voice a blissful murmur. “Then tip, and the rest.”

“Oh?” Ailsa leaned back, peering at the dragon’s penis. She wrapped both hands around its ridged base, then pumped him. “What if I just stroke these?”

Varcorak cried out, thrusting against her touch.

“Oooh, someone likes that.” Ailsa giggled, stroking the hot, fleshy creases a few more times.

“Ailsa, too much!” Varcorak half-shouted, half-laughed, squirming. His member pulsed in her grasp.

“That sensitive, huh?” Ailsa eased her grip. Wouldn’t want to set him off early and miss a chance to wear him out.

Ailsa ran her hands to Varcorak’s pointed tip. Between its natural smoothness and her oily hands, the dragon’s crimson member felt very slick. Ailsa squeezed it then eased her hands towards his balls, her fingers knitted around him. Ailsa pumped her arms, both oiled hands gliding together in smooth strokes. Varcorak groaned, the sound deep and gravelly, bubbling with pleasure.

“Feel good, Dragon?” Ailsa leaned back and forth with every stroke. The motion caused her to rub against his tail’s pebbly scales. She spread her legs, enjoying the feeling of his warmth against her.

“Yeesss.” The dragon’s reply was drawn out into a moan.

“Been a while before today, hasn’t it.” Ailsa stroked him harder, grinding her hips against the dragon’s tail. She bit her lip. It felt good. “Poor dragon.”

Ailsa leaned forward to kiss the dragon’s spear-flare. The dragon lifted his hips and Ailsa flicked her tongue. She tasted the herbal oils and the dragon’s exposed skin. For a moment, she wondered how dragons mated. Probably from behind, like animals. Did they share pleasure in other ways? That’d be something to see.

Alisa lifted her rump and slipped a hand between her legs. She was wet. Her swollen folds parted easily for her fingers. She worked two of them in as she stroked the dragon’s tip, licked his ridges. For a little while, she pumped the dragon with one hand and herself with the other. Then she had a better idea.

Ailsa crawled across the dragon. She dragged her tongue up Varcorak’s cock, her fingers over his balls. Then she settled against the dragon’s spear, her warmth and softness pressed to unsheathed flesh. The dragon’s member felt very hot and hard beneath her. Ailsa rolled her hips, stroking him with her rump. Varcorak groaned, eyes rolling.

The woman leaned forward and rolled her hips back, pressing her body to the dragon until she felt his heat against her sex. Ailsa trapped Varcorak’s cock between their bodies, hard and hot against her stomach. The pebbly scales of his underside teased her nipples as she twisted into position. She might not be able to safely take him inside her, but she could use his body to pleasure herself. Oh, and him too. Ailsa wriggled against the base of the dragon’s cock till she was parted against it, warmth caressing her spread lips. She rolled her hips, and pleasure blossomed as her clit rubbed against the dragon’s ridges.

“Oh, God.” Ailsa moaned, kissing Varcorak’s belly, his member flush against her.

Ailsa thrust against the dragon’s cock, using his ridges to stroke her clit and parted folds. Her wetness slickened Varcorak’s member as she dragged her pussy across it, his heat ever-present. The beast moaned, lifting his hips to slide his maleness against her body. His cock slipped along her belly, his heat pressed between her breasts. His scales rubbed her nipples, his ridges rolled against her clit and his balls pressed against her. Ailsa stretched her arms and dragged her nails down his natural armor, grinding herself against him.

As Varcorak moved, she moved. Ailsa matched his motions. She stroked his tip with her breasts, rubbed his mating tool between their bodies. She moved in tandem with the dragon even as she ensured his ridges kept sliding back and forth over her clit. Varcorak’s heat against such sensitive flesh was almost fiery, any hotter and the pleasure might stray into pain yet Ailsa relished it.

Varcorak put his paw on Ailsa’s rump, claw tips teasing her skin. Ailsa wriggled against his grasp, twisting against the dragon’s entire mating tool. Dribbles of draconic pre lubricated her skin from her breasts to her belly. Grinding herself against his bestial member and its hot grooves made her feel as though the dragon were some kind of giant, twisted pleasure toy. A toy she was more than happy to take full advantage of.

Not like the dragon wasn’t enjoying himself.

As Ailsa’s pleasure grew, her motions became more urgent. She gave little gasps and moans with every blissful caress of flesh on flesh. Her juices ran down the tiny valleys between the dragon’s ridges, wet his balls. When the dragon’s blissful snarls got louder, his thrusts stronger, Ailsa glanced up at him, smirking. Bet his swamp woman never rode him this way.

As Ailsa neared her release, she put one hand against the dragon and pushed herself up. With the other, she grabbed the dragon’s cock and lifted it away from his belly to press its base harder between her legs. She wriggled herself till her swollen clit was flush against the bumpy lines encircling the base of the dragon’s erection. Then Ailsa ground herself against it with frantic need. She rocked herself against the dragon’s spear, relishing its heat and desperate for more. Faster, harder, until finally she came again.

Ailsa screamed her delight as the ecstasy rolled through her, her inner walls clenching. She tossed her head back and forth, her jet black hair flying, eyes squeezed shut. Her honey spilled across the dragon and over his balls. Ailsa thrust herself against the dragon a few final uneven times, barely even able to hear his own cries through her pleasure. He throbbed as she squeezed him, dragon pre dribbling down her fingers.

As Ailsa’s orgasm faded, she eased back, panting. As soon as she caught her breath she leaned forward and took the dragon in her mouth. Ailsa bobbed her head against the dragon’s tapered tip, her hands stroking his oiled, crimson length in swift, smooth motions. Varcorak gave a shuddering groan. Ailsa swirled her tongue around his tip, sucking, and the groan turned into a frantic trill.

Ailsa bobbed her head and stroked him faster. Even as her own afterglow was just settling in, Ailsa had the unexpected urge to let the beast finish off in her mouth. He’d earned it with his tongue and all. Ailsa sucked him harder, slurping on the dragon. Soon Varcorak’s whole body went tense, his scarlet cock flexed and his ebon sac tightened.

Varcorak snarled when he came, his paws curling. His tail twisted into coils, his spines flared and he beat his wings against the blankets. Finishing him in her mouth seemed fun and spontaneous until the first spurt of white-hot dragon seed exploded from his tip. The force of it stung her throat and filled her mouth to overflowing. There was something primal about the taste of him but Ailsa was too busy trying not to choke to consider it.

The second eruption was larger and Ailsa was forced to retreat, coughing. She pulled her head back, dragon semen dripping down her chin. She pumped the beast in her hands through the rest of his orgasm. The dragon’s final spurts arced through the air, splattering his underbelly with off-white mottling that sluiced down his plates and scales. Once his bursts tapered off to dribbles, Ailsa let his member flop against his underbelly.

Ailsa followed suit, flopping against the dragon’s hind leg. She rested her head against him, panting. She wiped her mouth. “You’re messy, Var.”

“It’s your fault.” The dragon plucked a small, tattered blanket, and used it to wipe his belly. “We should bathe while there’s a pause in the storm. I hate going to bed unclean.”

“Good idea.” When Ailsa caught her breath, she slipped off the dragon. “Hope you’re not going to sleep on that sex rag.”

“Sex rag?” The dragon snorted, rolling over onto his belly. “Must humans name everything? I’m going to wash it and leave it outside.”

Ailsa smiled as she strolled to the tapestry-covered exit. She slipped out into the evening and found the storm had lessened to a cool, steady rain that filled the swamp with a fresh, clean scent. Ailsa stood beneath the overhang while her eyes adjusted. Streams gushed over broken cobblestone, muddy puddles lay in shallow depressions. The rain clattered against the tiles above her, and everywhere else was the pattering hiss of water on water.

Varcorak walked out behind her, rustling his wings. “I’ve set a blanket down inside so we can wipe our muddy paws when we return.”

Ailsa chuckled. Damn obsessive dragon. “So is this our nightly ritual now?”

“If you’d like it to be.” The dragon stepped out from under the eave, hissing at one of the headless statues as if it had insulted him. Rain splattered against his black and green scales.

“I’d like that.” She’d like that tongue, anyway. The next time some drunken warrior was awkwardly fumbling around with his mustached face between her thighs, Ailsa was going to wish she could use her stolen treasure to buy a dragon.

Ailsa followed Varcorak to his tub. She climbed into the cool water and closed her eyes. The chirping frogs and buzzing insects melded with the steady, cascading rain into an ocean of gentle noise. It sounded like a thousand soothing, whispering voices all at once.

Ailsa smiled. “Your swamp’s not so bad, Var.”

Varcorak rumbled as he eased into the water. “A pleasant end to our evening.”

“Evening’s not done yet, Var.” Ailsa waded to the dragon and stroked his neck. “We can’t end the day without your treats.”

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the ninth episode of The Devil’s Deal by D. Wilder. Stay tuned for the final two episodes. You can catch up on episodes you may have missed and see the full schedule along with contact information for D. Wilder here.

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The first thing Ailsa did when they released her from jail was to demand a hot bath, a hot meal, and a night in a comfortable inn. She used the bath to wash the cell’s stench from her body, the meal to meet with a contact who worked in the tavern, and the night alone to formulate her plan.

Meeting with her contact was a challenge, but he tended a local tavern so Ailsa just asked to have her meal there. She sat at the bar so she could hold a conversation with the bartender while she ate. The two guards she’d dubbed Pukey and Giggles kept watch, but Ailsa knew how to keep the authorities in the dark. She mixed in plenty of simple code words and phrases until she’d gleaned all she needed to know.

If not for the promise of dragon treasure, Ailsa would have ditched Pukey and Giggles in the middle of the night and never looked back at their mud hole of a town. Bad enough she had to give up the job she came here for. At least a bag full of loot would help make up for the sentimental value of what she was leaving behind. Now she just had to play her role till she got her hands on the goods.

Ailsa convinced the guards she should not meet the dragon without a gift for him. She suggested something edible so that he could fill his belly with treats rather than with his newest companion. After that, no one would shut the hell up about some damn tart the dragon always demanded. Tarts it was, then.

Early the next morning, Ailsa followed a winding cobblestone lane across grassy rises and beneath the drooping boughs of ancient willows. Cozy white-walled homes, little shops and hand-painted signs lined the path that led to the dragon’s favorite bakery. Warm morning sunlight painted the world gold, though a distant wall of roiling gray clouds promised rain as they slunk ever closer.

The bakery sat on the reed-lined banks of a lazy river. It had a domed roof and walls painted with all manner of pastries. Smoke drifted from clay-brick chimneys. A rock propped open the green front door. Delightful scents of bread and sweet cakes wafted out, overwhelming the dank smell of the swamp festering beyond the city’s walls. Ailsa savored the pleasant aromas as she strolled in.

Shelves and display cases showcased freshly-baked wares. A stocky man with dark hair placed loaves of bread. A slender woman with red hair tied behind her head stood behind the counter, arranging cookies on a silver platter. Both wore matching green aprons.

“Hello!” The woman glanced up from her tray, smiling.

“Hello!” The man remained fixated on his bread.

Damn cheerful idiots.

“Yes, hello!” Ailsa slipped into friendly traveler mode. “It smells wonderful in here.”

“Oh, thank you!” The woman flashed Ailsa another smile, then deposited cookies on a second platter. “My husband and I are just getting ready. Can we help you?”

“I certainly hope so. I’d like to buy some cakes and things, but…” Ailsa let her eyes drift as if interested in what they had stocked. “Do you take custom orders?”

“Only rarely.” The woman re-arranged the cookies, scowling at them. “Afraid we’ve already got a busy day of baking ahead.”

“What a shame.” Ailsa slipped a note of disappointment into her voice. “I heard the dragon likes your pastries best.”

The man turned around, and the woman’s eyes lit up. She grinned, quirking a brow. “Ah, so you’re that girl.”

“Yes, that’s me.” Damn guards told the whole town already. Ailsa sighed, lowering her voice. “I’ve scarcely any idea what I’m getting myself into. He’s…not going to…eat me, is he?”

Both bakers laughed, and the woman reached across the counter to touch Ailsa’s arm. “Of course not, Dear. Just treat him respectfully and you’ll be done before you know it. Might even end up wealthier than when you arrived.”

The old bag was right about that. Ailsa feigned a shy giggle. “I’m very nervous. I was told you might have something to help calm my nerves or help me sleep.”

“Ah, that sort of request.” The woman patted Ailsa’s arm, grinning. “Given your situation, yes, I could make something for you. Something with a pinch of red root, put you right out.”

Ailsa smiled in relief. She pulled a few golden coins from her purse. According to her contact, this bakery would do anything for the right price. Ailsa passed the coins to the woman, lowering her voice to a whisper. “I was also told you might be able to help the dragon stay relaxed and calm, as well. Just until I’m used to being around such a creature.”

“I see.” The woman glanced at the guards and the coins vanished in an instant. “He eats our brambleberry tarts by the dozen. I could add red root to those, as well. That’d take the edge off his attitude.”

“Oh, that would be wonderful.” Ailsa clasped her hands, beaming. “So should I offer him the whole dozen?”

The woman chuckled and shook her head. “No, just a few at a time. Otherwise that might leave even a dragon snoring for a day or two.”

“Oh, my.” Ailsa pushed a few more coins across the counter. “We wouldn’t want that. I’d be bored to tears.” She tapped a finger to her chin. “Of course, if I did end up wealthier in the end, I’d not be above sharing that wealth with those who helped me endure this trial.”

The woman chuckled, sweeping up the coins. “Wouldn’t say no to a nice tip down the line.”

“Wonderful. I’ll take a dozen brambleberry tarts, then.” Ailsa lifted her voice, smiling. “Plus one for myself, and a couple sweet cakes.”

“Of course, Ma’am.” The baker smiled and gave Ailsa a curt bow. “Why don’t you get some breakfast? By the time you’re back, they’ll be ready to go.”

“That sounds perfect.” Ailsa smiled, thanked the woman, and made her way back outside. She grinned at the guards. “Pukey, Giggles? Why don’t you buy me some breakfast?”

That treasure was as good as hers.

 

I hope you enjoyed the eighth episode of The Devil’s Deal by D. Wilder. Stay tuned for more episodes all week. You can catch up on episodes you may have missed and see the full schedule along with contact information for D. Wilder here.

Read Full Post »

Ailsa followed the dragon to his sleeping area. Varcorak settled on his side upon a sprawl of blankets and cushions, his wings draped behind him. He plucked a silver goblet from his wine crate, uncorked a new bottle and poured some into the vessel. When he held the goblet out towards Ailsa, the webbing stood out between his digits.

Ailsa set the clay pots down then accepted the goblet. “Never knew dragons were such aquatic creatures.”

“Most aren’t.” The dragon tucked the bottle away. He splayed his forepaw, then waggled his fingers and watched the gray webbing stretch. “Remnant of my heritage.”

“So there’s different dragon breeds?” Ailsa rolled the goblet between her hands. It’d fit nicely in her pack.

“There were.” The dragon set his paw back down, then curled his tail and flared out his finned spines, undulating them like fish fins. “Most dragons don’t have webbing. I’m just a creature of the swamp.” He grinned at Ailsa. “Or maybe I’m a malformed oddity.”

“You like toying with people?”

“As if you don’t.” The dragon flicked his claws at Ailsa. “Do you like red wine?”

“More inclined to ale and rum, but I’ve yet to meet a drink I couldn’t finish.” She held the goblet under her nose. The aroma was ripe with plum and cherry. Damn dragon had good taste. “Not something I’d expect a dragon to enjoy.”

“I stole a wagon full of it in my youth and developed a taste.” The dragon lapped at his bowl of wine like an oversized cat.

Ailsa sipped the wine. A hint of tartness and earthy oak balanced the plum and cherry flavors. “This is really good.” She glanced at the box of clothing. “How many girls have you had out here?”

“A few.” The dragon refilled his bowl. “Now that I can’t go around burning things, I get bored. It’s nice to have someone to talk to.”

“Bored or horny?” Ailsa smirked, swirling her wine.

The dragon grinned. He tucked the bottle away and pushed the crate aside. “Let’s call it both.”

“But never lonely, right?” Ailsa exchanged her goblet for a pot of oil. “Because dragons don’t get lonely?”

Varcorak gazed at his blankets. He traced a single claw around a golden sun emblazoned on a blue quilt. “Dragons might get lonely. A time or two. In their youth.”

Ailsa uncapped the clay pot, an herbal aroma wafted from the oil within. “Have you always lived in the swamp?”

“Yes.” Varcorak kneaded the blanket. “I’ve watched it grow as I’ve grown.”

Ailsa trailed her finger around the inside of the pot, slick with oil. “You said there are still other dragons, right? Your daughter found a mate.”

“Yes, a young male from the west. They adore each other.” He bared his fangs. “But if he mistreats her I’ll beat him to death with his own wings.”

Ailsa smirked. “My father told the first man I was with if he ever laid an unwanted hand on me, he’d throw him in the village well.”

“A wise man.”

“He was.” Ailsa picked up her goblet. “Didn’t like that I ended up following the same path he did.” She stared into her wine. “Sometimes the roads we walk choose us.”

“So he was a mercenary, too?” Varcorak perked his ears, tilting his head.

Ailsa chose her words carefully. She didn’t want a simple, honest chat to be a noose around her neck. “He lived a life of danger and violence. When I was born, he knew he had to change.” Ailsa drank some wine then swapped her goblet for the oil. “Shall I start that massage?”

“Please.” The dragon stretched, luxuriating upon the blankets. “Your father sounds like a criminal.”

“Bodyguard for a criminal.” Ailsa knelt alongside the dragon and worked the oil between her hands. “Till I was born, then he was a town guard. Taught me to defend myself, but wanted me to live a peaceful life. Didn’t work out.”

“Plans rarely do.” Varcorak laid his head upon a purple cushion with silver seams. “My father was a dragon.”

Ailsa laughed, kneading the dragon’s shoulder. “And your mother, I’d wager.” Varcorak stretched his foreleg as Alisa worked his scutes, black and green scales shining in the oil.

“As I recall.” Varcorak closed his eyes, relaxing. “I did not know her well.”

“What was your father like?” Ailsa cradled the dragon’s gray-speckled forepaw, kneading the soft pads.

“Wild.” Varcorak splayed his paw. “My father was the swamp itself. Powerful, unpredictable. A tide to wash away his enemies. He taught me to hunt, to survive, and then he let the swamp raise me a while. If he saw me today, he’d ask me why I lived in here when I had the swamp for shelter.”

“So why do you?” Ailsa caressed the soft, warm webbing between Varcorak’s digits.

“I grew tired of moldy caverns.” The dragon pinned his ears when thunder rumbled. “Even I would be a fool to trust the swamp with my life when it’s in a foul mood.”

“So…” Ailsa glanced at the darkened window. Another flicker of lightning flashed in the distance. “Did the swamp…I mean, your mother…”

“Don’t stray into deep waters, Girl.” Varcorak opened his eyes to bronze slits.

Ailsa nodded. Better not ask about his mother, then. “Ever think about leaving the swamp? You could go west, find other dragons.”

Varcorak sighed, flicking his spines back. “The swamp is my home, Ailsa.” He turned his head, staring at the webbing between his fingers. “Look at my damn paws. I’m as much a part of this swamp as the water.”

Ailsa scowled, oiling her hands. “You sound like you think you’re trapped here.”

The dragon snorted and curled his paw.

Ailsa decided to drop the subject. She couldn’t rob the dragon if he was too upset to sleep. Ailsa smiled at him, and patted his scales. “Lay your head back down.”

The dragon took the purple cushion in his jaws and stretched his neck. He dropped the pillow, and set his head upon it. “How’s this?”

“Perfect.” Ailsa knelt alongside the dragon’s neck, working oil over his green-mottled scales.

Varcorak sighed as the tension melted from his serpentine neck. “That feels nice, Ailsa.”

Ailsa grinned, examining the gray spines decorating the back of Varcorak’s neck. They ran along his backbone, connected by thin, gold-tinged membrane. When they lay flat they overlapped one another. Ailsa ran a single oiled finger alongside his spines. They twitched and lifted a little.

“Think I can tease these into rising?”

“I think can you tease a lot of things into rising.”

“Aw, does little Varcorak want a massage too?” She danced her fingers over the dragon’s spines. “I’ll be sure to oil him up.”

“See that you do.” The dragon lifted his spines for her. “And never call it that again.”

The dragon’s neck spines were dark gray and tipped in gold, an impressive display of ancient beauty and primal threat. The membranes connecting them were mottled with emerald green and edged with more gold. Ailsa traced a finger along one of the green markings upon the smooth skin. The dragon shivered.

“Are you sensitive here?”

“Extremely.” The spines trembled beneath her touch.

“Good to know.”

Ailsa scooped fresh oil from the pot, and rubbed it into the dragon’s neck frill. She worked her hands in circles, polishing the membranes. Varcorak trilled and shuddered, his scales clicking. Ailsa kneaded his neck, loosening the knotted muscles along his spine. The oil made Varcorak’s scales shine in the pale blue light, like polished obsidian dotted with glossy malachite. The tips of his spines gleamed like wet gold. Maybe King Ugly wasn’t so ugly after all.

“You’ve striking colors.” Ailsa traced a finger around a green blotch.

“Yes, I’m ferociously handsome.” The dragon chuckled.

Ailsa worked her way up the dragon’s neck, oiling his scales and frill until she’d reached his head. Once there she caressed his ears and the smaller frills at the sides of his head. By the time she was working oil into the fine scales under his jaw, the dragon was purring. It took Ailsa a moment to realize it, but then it was clear. It sounded like stones cascading down a hill, rumbling and rattling, as though the earth itself found a way to growl.

Ailsa grinned, rubbing his chin. “Didn’t know dragons purred.”

“Keep it a secret.”

Ailsa smirked, massaging the soft area of the dragon’s nose. “I’ll make you a deal.”

“What deal?” The dragon swiveled his ears.

“I’ll keep your secret if you visit your daughter after I leave.” Ailsa stared at her oily hands as she worked them over his face, back to his neck. “You don’t have to stay here.”

“This is my home, Ailsa.” The dragon sighed, his tail curling. “I belong here. My swamp and my town need me.”

Ailsa kept her own sigh to herself as she worked her way back to the dragon’s neck. “So visit other dragons. Find a mate to share the swamp with. It’s just…” Ailsa scowled as cold guilt tugged at her heart. What the hell did she care? “You don’t have to be lonely, Var.”

“Your concern is appreciated.” The dragon’s voice wavered. He glanced at the portraits lining his wall, then at a box set aside from the others. For a moment, pain shone in his eyes, cold and real. It was an anchor heavy enough to pull down all his walls and lies and arrogance. “But I do not think I could save my drowning heart a second time.”

Ailsa leaned her forehead against his neck. “I’m sorry.” Sorry for what she was planning to do.

“As am I, Ailsa.” The dragon turned his anguished gaze upon Ailsa. In a few blinks, the pain was hidden behind bronze walls. “But you’re here for fun, not moping.”

Ailsa grinned. The dragon’s attitude was good armor across old wounds. She’d stop picking at them. She oiled the other side of his neck, then his other shoulder and foreleg. “Your wings are next.”

“My wings can wait.” Varcorak pushed himself halfway to his haunches. “Females should never go long without satisfaction.”

Ailsa quirked a brow, smirking. “Can’t argue that.”

“Then clothes off, Ailsa.” The dragon waved unsheathed claws.

“As you wish, Var.”

Ailsa eased her shirt up, gradually unveiling light bronze skin. She paused when she reached the swell of her breasts, nipples hidden. Ailsa circled a finger around the button of her leather breeches. She ran that finger down the seam of her pants, over her crotch, and then back to her waist. Then she popped the button, easing open the front of her breeches. The dragon’s eyes followed every motion.

Ailsa returned to her blouse, tugging it up an inch at a time. Once her nipples were exposed, she pulled the shirt off and tossed it aside. She ran both hands over her breasts, down across her belly, then hooked her thumbs into her unbuttoned breeches. Ailsa dragged her breeches down the swell of her hips, unveiling her mound. She paused before pulling them down enough to reveal her folds. Ailsa saw the dragon’s eyes lingering before she stepped out of her pants.

“There. How’s that?”

“Perfect.”

Varcorak curled his neck and brushed his muzzle against her cheek. The pebbly texture made her shiver. When she felt his snout drift lower, Ailsa tilted her head. She gasped as wet heat washed across her throat. As he licked her, the dragon’s paw settled on her hip, stroking her skin. His pads were soft and warm. Varcorak’s tongue roamed her throat, his paw explored her body and goose bumps rose in their wake.

Ailsa shuddered when the dragon’s tongue descended over her throat. He tilted his head down, and his chin scales brushed her left breast. When Varcorak nosed at her nipple, Ailsa held her breath and put her hands on his muzzle. The dragon parted his maw, swirled his tongue across her nipple. Ailsa gasped, the dragon’s tongue was just as velvety as a man’s and even hotter. It felt so wonderful twisting across the sensitive bud Ailsa was disappointed when he turned his attention to her other breast.

Varcorak dragged his muzzle against her, and Ailsa felt every fine, pebbly scale bumping against her hardened nipple. The intensity of it was almost too much, yet just when she was going to push him away he rolled his tongue over her. This time the pleasure was even greater as though his scales set her nerves alight in preparation. Ailsa arched her back, groaning.

As Ailsa arched, Varcorak stroked her back. Ailsa gasped when she felt claw tips dragged across her skin. The feeling was as frightening as it was exhilarating. She liked the feeling of nails dragged across her skin but dragon claws were far more dangerous. She shivered as more goose bumps broke out across her in waves.

“I won’t hurt you, Ailsa.”

“I know, Var.” Ailsa didn’t trust Varcorak, but the dragon had little reason to harm her.

Ailsa ran her hands over the dragon’s face as he worshipped her breasts. Each time Varcorak alternated scales and tongue, her head spun. The pebbly texture left her nipples alive with extra sensitivity, and the velvet heat took full advantage. The dragon stroked her back, her ass, her thigh. Claw tips glided across her but never broke the skin. Ailsa’s heat grew with the dragon’s every touch. When his muzzle drifted downward, Ailsa stroked his nose to encourage him.

The dragon eased his muzzle back, patting a blanket. “Get comfortable for your pleasure.”

For such a smug beast, Varcorak sure seemed concerned with her comfort and pleasure. Maybe it was his ego. She wasn’t going to complain. Ailsa dropped to all fours, crawling away from the dragon. She waggled her hips at him, glancing back.

“If I was a dragon, would you want to mount me?”

Varcorak rumbled, his ears perked. Ailsa could see his redness showing beneath his belly. “If you were a dragon, I’d have already mounted you. Alas, I cannot safely fit.”

“I’d better stop teasing, then.” Ailsa fetched a maroon cushion with golden tassels and rolled to her back. She put her head upon the cushion, parting her thighs with her knees up. “How’s this?”

“Perfect.” Varcorak rolled to his side, his belly bared.

Ailsa’s eyes roamed his belly. His crimson spear was exposed and rigid. “Looks like you’re having fun, too.” She stretched a leg to brush her toes against his ridged member.

Varcorak shivered, scales clicking. “I am. But this is about you.” The dragon arched his neck, muzzle touching her thighs. “Do you want me to lick you, Ailsa?”

Ailsa offered only a coy smile in reply.

He peered up at her from between her legs, muzzle so close she felt his warm breath against her most private flesh. “Do you want to feel my tongue?”

Ailsa lifted her hips, squeezing the dragon’s head between her thighs. “Yes, Var.” She kneaded her own breasts. “I want you to lick my pussy. I want to feel your tongue on me. Please, Var.” Ailsa wasn’t normally one to beg, even in play, but stroking his ego ought to maintain his trust. “Please, lick my pussy.”

“If you insist.”

Ailsa gasped at the sheer, stunning heat of Varcorak’s tongue gliding over her mound. This time he did not tease her, he lapped at her. The dragon’s tongue dragged across her folds again and again. Each lick parted her a little more. Moment by moment the sweet warmth slipped deeper inside her. Ailsa shuddered with each new lick. She lifted her rump, hips shaking as she pressed her crotch to the dragon’s snout.

Varcorak curled himself and grabbed her ass, massaging it. Ailsa wriggled between paw and snout. As the warm velvet of his tongue rolled against her, the scales of his muzzle stroked and teased her thighs. Ailsa panted and ran a hand past her belly to further part herself for the dragon. Varcorak tilted his head and Ailsa cried out when his tongue found her clit. The heat was almost too much to bear.

Ailsa kept herself spread with her fingers while the dragon circled his tongue. His soft nose rubbed her sex. Scales brushed her thighs as he twined the tip of his long tongue around her swollen button. Warmth and pleasure rolled through her with every motion of Varcorak’s agile tongue. With her free hand, Ailsa squeezed a breast in time with the dragon’s pleasuring.

Ailsa’s eyes went wide, her mouth hung open in silent gasp when the dragon plunged his tongue inside her. The sudden rush of such intimate warmth made her dig her fingers into her own skin. Varcorak’s tongue twisted inside her and Ailsa rubbed her clit in matching motions. Ailsa gazed at Varcorak. There was a strange thrill in seeing the primal beast working for her pleasure, his muzzle buried between her thighs, horns sprouting above her legs.

Varcorak pumped his tongue, and Ailsa pressed herself against the heat that filled her. Her wetness marked his scales. Ailsa dropped her rump, and the dragon pulled his head back, pink tongue sliding from within her, dragging against her lips. Ailsa’s head lolled back in bliss, her whole body felt as hot as the dragon’s tongue that swirled against her.

Ailsa dropped her head to the cushion, moaning. The dragon’s paws roamed her body. His pads glided in soft circles across her belly. His scales dragged over her skin when he stretched a foreleg to grasp her breast. Varcorak’s paw pads were silken soft against her hardened nipples.

Varcorak’s tongue matched his touch. When he traced circles across her skin, he rolled his tongue tip around her clit. When he stroked her thighs, he bobbed his muzzle against her pussy. Whenever the dragon’s tongue left her clit, Ailsa replaced it with her fingers. Shivers of pleasure ran through her with their every shared touch.

Whenever the dragon’s tongue filled her, the heat was nearly all consuming. Ailsa rolled her hips against the dragon’s snout, wanting more. Varcorak arched his long neck, bobbing his head between Ailsa’s legs. Together they built a primal rhythm, the dragon’s tongue thrust into her each time she arched her back, scales stroking her thighs.

As Ailsa’s bliss grew, so did her moans. Her body trembled and tensed in rising delight. The louder Ailsa got, the more intensity Varcorak poured into his pleasuring. Ailsa writhed against the blankets as the dragon’s tongue returned time and again to the spots and motions that made her cry out.

Wetness dribbled down Ailsa’s thighs as the dragon bobbed his whole head. His scales stroked her skin, his tongue pumped in and out of her. Ailsa’s fingers grew frantic around her clit when the dragon spent a few long moments just swirling his tongue inside her, her pleasure surging.

“Aah!” Ailsa grit her teeth, unable to hold back her cries. “AH! Var! Vaaaar! I’m…ah! AAAHH!”

Ailsa arched her back as she came, her eyes squeezed shut. She ground herself against the dragon’s muzzle, inner walls clenching his tongue as ecstasy consumed her. Varcorak worked his tongue the whole time. Ailsa’s pleasure was drawn into beautiful, lingering moments through which she could scarcely breathe. Her juices soaked the dragon’s nose and pebbly chin. When her orgasm faded, Ailsa sank against the blankets moaning her satisfaction.

Varcorak lapped at her as if cleaning her with his tongue. “Enjoy yourself, Ailsa?”

Not even the dragon’s smugness could darken her afterglow. She stretched out on the blankets, answering him only with a happy sigh.

“Perhaps we shall make that a daily ritual.” Varcorak’s purr filled the room. “You pleasure me, I pleasure you.”

Ailsa smiled, rolling to her side. “You’re pretty good with your tongue.” She propped herself up on her elbow, smirking. “Must be all those gryphons you blow.”

“Been a while since I’ve done that.” Varcorak laughed, curling his tail.

“Pleasure a woman, or blow a gryphon?” Ailsa giggled.

“Either one.”

Ailsa laughed with him. She’d have a lot of stories to tell after tonight. She could hear herself warning prospective dragon-slayers now. Careful, the dragon might be busy blowing a gryphon. Don’t give me that look, I know more about dragons than you. I’ve blown one too! In fact, don’t slay him. He may have a daughter somewhere.

An image popped into Ailsa’s head. She saw Varcorak, splashing through the swamp. He was laughing, chasing an adorable little hatchling. The idea that even a dragon could experience such innocent joy made her smile.

“What are you grinning at?”

Ailsa stuck her tongue out at the dragon before her smile turned too wistful. She still had a role to play. “You, you horny lizard. I still have to finish your massage, don’t I?” She glanced at her pack. “Then maybe we’ll sit together, eat some tarts, and just…talk.”

“That sounds nice, Ailsa.” The contentment in Varcorak’s happy sigh almost broke Ailsa’s thieving heart. “That sounds nice.”

 

I hope you enjoyed the seventh episode of The Devil’s Deal by D. Wilder. Stay tuned for more episodes all week. You can catch up on episodes you may have missed and see the full schedule along with contact information for D. Wilder here.

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Ailsa walked around the dragon’s home, making note of treasure both valuable and easily carried. A golden goblet crusted with jewels. An emerald-studded circlet. A silver dagger with inscriptions in a lost tongue. Pouches filled with old coins and rough cut stones. A bookshelf lined with rare tomes.

A scraping, rattling sound drew Ailsa’s attention as Varcorak dragged in a crate filled with bottles. “Where do you get all this stuff?”

Varcorak glanced over as he hauled the crate. “Stole some of it in my youth. The rest I call payment for services rendered. See anything you fancy?”

Ailsa browsed a drawer filled with exotic writing implements. There were gryphon feather quills, inkpots of ivory and bone, a pen carved from antler. “You’ve all sorts of interesting things. Why?”

The dragon settled on his haunches to examine the bottles one by one. “I wish to be your companion, not your captor. When you leave, you may choose something in return for your companionship.”

Paying her off like some whore. How sweet. “Oh, well thank you, Dragon!” One item for months with the dragon? More like a pack full of treasure for a quickie and a cuddle.

“Care for some wine?” The dragon held a bottle in his webbed paw.

“Later, but you go ahead.”

“As you wish.” The dragon plunked a single claw into the cork and pulled it free. He flicked the cork into the crate then poured the wine into an oblong pewter bowl. “I’ll open more later with our tarts.”

“That’s fine.” Get drunk, eat treats, pass out. Perfect.

Ailsa stumbled upon a box holding what looked like sets of large, padded shackles. Had he been captured at some point? Then she saw something with a smooth wooden handle, and pulled it free. The wood beyond the handle was flat, broad, and leather-wrapped.

Ailsa stared. No way. “Is this a paddle?”

“What?” The dragon placed the empty bottle in the crate.

“This is a paddle.” Ailsa swatted her hand, laughing.

“Sorry.” The dragon sniffed at his wine. “Don’t know that word.”

“Then what is this?”

“No idea.” The dragon shrugged his wings.

Ailsa smirked, and smacked her hand again. “This is a big paddle, Dragon. Is this for you or your guests?”

The dragon lapped at his wine, glancing over. “What’s it do?”

“It paddles.”

“Repeating the word doesn’t explain the meaning.” The dragon snorted.

“Right.” Ailsa stuck the paddle back in the box. “We’ll go that route. If you decide you want your scaly ass paddled, let me know.” Paddling a dragon sounded fun. If he kept up the attitude, she’d ‘accidentally’ swing it low and see how high the beast’s voice could get. “I’ll just put it by your fun-time shackles.”

“What are you on about? That box belonged to an old mate.”

“So she liked being paddled?” Ailsa grinned but the dragon still wouldn’t rise to the bait.

Ailsa turned her attention to the paintings, tapestries and busts that decorated Varcorak’s walls above his treasure. Most of them depicted other dragons. There was a blue one with a short muzzle, a green with a tapered snout, and a full portrait one of a black dragon with fiery red wing patterns.

“Who are these dragons?” Ailsa smirked. “Your conquests?”

“Not conquests.” Varcorak licked droplets of red wine from his muzzle. The dragon’s voice softened and he glanced away. “Memories. They were dear to me.”

That sounded a lot deeper than trophies. Did dragons…did things get deeper for them? That moment of loneliness, the coldness she’d seen in his eyes earlier that day drifted back to her.

Have you seen any female dragons around here, lately? Because I sure as hell haven’t.

Ailsa clapped a hand to her mouth, her breath caught. She watched Varcorak, wondering if his lovers were all slain by humans. How many had he lost? Ailsa could scarcely imagine the weight of that burden. The dragon turned his head away, his eyes hidden. His spines sagged, and his ears drooped as he stared at his wine.

Ailsa dug her palms into her eyes. Her throat clenched and she swallowed that sympathetic pain right back down. She didn’t have time to feel sorry for some horny old lizard who’d already threatened to kill her. She had to stick to her plan.

“So you had portraits done of the females you cared for?” Ailsa smiled. “That’s sweet.”

Varcorak shifted, tightening his wings against his body. The dragon seemed caught off-guard by his own feelings and needed a moment to collect himself. “And the males.”

“Males?” What else was this dragon into?

“Yes.” Varcorak shook himself, lifting his spines, his pained posture vanished. “The gryphon’s male.”

Ailsa walked the wall till she spotted a tapestry with a gryphon on it. Gray feathers peppered with black, seated on his haunches, and definitely male. “You’re into gryphons? Male gryphons?”

“We’ve been over this.” Varcorak sighed, curling his tail. “Dragons are not beholden to your restrictive sexual morals. Life is a gift to be enjoyed. Does sharing pleasure with a willing partner harm anyone?” The dragon flared his gold-tipped spines, hissing. “Do you fear that because I have pleasured a male gryphon, that somehow your cities will come crumbling down?”

Ailsa had no response. Hell, if she didn’t agree she’d not have been so willing to pleasure the dragon to get his treasure. “It’s just a surprise, that’s all.”

Varcorak snorted, flattening his frills. “Humans. Always complicating things.”

“Just didn’t realize dragons were bisexual.”

“Not all of us are.” Varcorak arched his neck. “But how are we to know what we enjoy without trying it?”

Ailsa rubbed her face, unable to stifle her grin. “I’m sure the gryphon had a wonderful time.”

“You should hear the noises he made when I took him in my muzzle.”

Ailsa giggled, reddening a little. That might be fun to see. Further down the wall Ailsa found a group of portraits that all depicted the same female dragon. She was black, with hints of blue and green marking her. They were set away from the others, with their own section of shelves and trinkets.

“What about this one?” Ailsa smirked at the dragon. “Was she your best lover?”

The dragon’s voice dropped into a growl. “That is my daughter.”

Oh. Ailsa swallowed. She really jumped in the dragon pile that time. “You have a daughter?”

“Yes.” The dragon cocked his head, glaring at her. “Why does everything surprise you? We don’t just assemble each other out of swamp mud and bits of stick!”

Grimacing, Ailsa examined some of the trinkets on the shelves. There were shards of brittle, mottled gray egg shell. Piles of dark scales were arranged from smallest to largest. A broken claw lay on its own. There were wooden carvings of dragons. Had his daughter carved those, or were they toys he’d given her?

So, King Ugly of Shit Swamp wasn’t just a father, he was a caring father. Ailsa held her breath when guilt’s vice squeezed her heart. This was supposed to be easy. Ailsa grit her teeth. This was easy. She wasn’t hurting his daughter, she wasn’t harming him. She’d just slip away with a little treasure, and he could get another girl.

“What’s her name?” The question spilled from Ailsa’s lips before she could stop it.

“Nykarys.” Happiness and pride brightened Varcorak’s voice. “Named after her mother.”

No way in hell Ailsa could pronounce that. “And she’s…” Ailsa glanced at the dragon. “Alive?”

Varcorak pulled his head back, spines flaring and eyes wide. “Gods, I hope so.”

“I’m glad.” For once, that wasn’t a lie. Even an old bastard needed someone to care about. “So she’s…”

“Off with a mate of her own, somewhere safe and far away.” The dragon padded up alongside her, gazing at the portraits. “There aren’t many of us left. Not here, anyway. I’m glad she’s found someone.”

“And…her mother…”

“Is not a topic of discussion.” Varcorak’s voice tightened, his claws clicked against the stone floor as he unsheathed them. That was answer enough.

“I’m sorry.” Ailsa put a hand on the dragon’s foreleg. The beast swallowed and looked away.

“You need not apologize for old sorrows.” The dragon shook himself, scales clicking.

Ailsa stroked his foreleg scutes. She almost wished she could hug the scaly bastard. Almost. “Ny…Nik…Nie…Your daughter is beautiful.”

The dragon rumbled as a smile tugged at his muzzle. “Yes, she is.” A rare warmth glowed in his bronze eyes. “Do you have young?”

“Oh, no.” Ailsa shook her head, rubbing the dragon’s shoulder. “A wandering mercenary isn’t exactly a suitable mother. Maybe when I’m settled down somewhere.”

“Probably for the best.” The dragon traced his pads over some of the eggshell fragments, still smiling.

“Is that why you made your deal with the town?” The dragon’s life was a puzzle Ailsa suddenly couldn’t stop trying to solve. “Because you had a daughter to raise?”

Varcorak flared his frills one spine at a time. The dangerous, uncertain shine returned to his bronze eyes. “You think I offered them the deal?”

Ailsa chewed her lip, examining the dragon’s trinkets to avoid his gaze. “Didn’t you?”

“Perhaps they came to me, requesting my protection.” The dragon curled his tail around a hind leg, smirking. “Or perhaps I gave them an ultimatum. What do you think, Ailsa?”

“I think they made a deal with the devil, and now they’re stuck with it.”

The dragon cocked his head, voice encased in icy amusement. “You think I’m the devil?”

“You might be.” Ailsa gave him a nervous glance. “I can’t figure you out.”

“Best try harder, Girl, time’s running out.” Varcorak tapped his claws against the stone floor.

Ailsa’s stomach knotted. What was he playing at? She forced a smile. “What’s the hurry? I’ve months to figure you out.”

“Do you?” The dragon’s voice was a rising swirl of lilting curiosity and rumbling menace. He flicked his tail, webbed spines clattered on the floor.

“That’s what they told me in town.” Ailsa bent forward and busied herself digging through a box filled with old clay pots. She glanced back at him. “What’s this stuff?”

“Oils and things.” Varcorak stared at Ailsa’s curves.

Ailsa grinned when Varcorak took the bait. Maybe every time he seemed suspicious she’d just have to distract him. “For what?”

“My scales.” The dragon flared out his green-mottled wings, looking them over. “And my wings.”

“Maybe I should give you an oil massage.” Ailsa straightened up, examining one of the vats. “Ever had one?”

The dragon perked his frilled ears. “No, but it sounds pleasant.”

Ailsa turned to put a hand on the smooth, hard plates of the dragon’s chest. “Promise it will end happily.” She trailed her fingers down him.

“Good.” Varcorak smirked, tilting his head down. “Though I may attend your pleasure, first.”

Ailsa shivered. “I’d like that.”

“I know.” The dragon turned away, his tail twisting against her body, brushing her like a teasing serpent with its own desires. “Bring the oil. We shall have wine, and then pleasure.”

Ailsa let out a long breath as she collected a few pots of oil. She’d never figure out this beast and his ever-changing moods. The sooner she was out of here with his treasure the better. Just a little longer, she told herself. Just a little longer.

 

I hope you enjoyed the sixth episode of The Devil’s Deal by D. Wilder. Stay tuned for more episodes all week. You can catch up on episodes you may have missed and see the full schedule along with contact information for D. Wilder here.

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